Yesterday Canon has announced a new mirrorless interchangeable lens camera: the M5. Canon so far hasn't show so far much determination in entering the mirrorless market, for obvious reasons giving its extremely wide consumer base especially for non-mirrorless lenses and its models have less features and performances with respect to other manufacturers, especially Sony, Panasonic, Olympus and Fuji.

The new M5 appears the first "serious" model (i.e. at least comparable to other manufacturers' models), let's see in detail the feature, also looking at some direct concurrent models of Sony (the new A6300) and the Panasonic and Olympus micro four thirds:

  • same sensor of the Canon 80D, 24 megapixels, much better dynamic range with respect to previous Canon sensors, that are know to have quite less dynamic range than Sony/Nikon ones - Sony 6300 or Nikon 7200 (sharing the same sensor size) are still superior.
  • a lot of controls on the body - very cool, even 4 knobs on the top for quick setting many parameters, other mirrorless models have less controls (Sony A6300 just 2 knobs on top plate, Olympus EM 5 II has 3 ones), though Canon tends to give less degree of customization to buttons and knobs with respect to other brands.
  • Dual Pixel Auto Focus, borrowed from Canon DSLRs, finally since so far Canon hasn't ported this consolidated system into mirrorless models. The Dual Pixel AF allows good focusing in liveview (that being a mirrorless is the only view, there is no optical viewfinder of course!) especially for video with smooth focus transitions.
  • Electronic View finder with 2.6 million pixels, on par with latest concurrent models. We will see the quality when available for tests.
  • Shutter speeds form 30 seconds to 1/4000.
  • Bursts at 9 frames per seconds without focusing, 7 frames with focusing (A6300 is better respectively at 11 and 8).
  • LCD screen:
    • tiltable with 1.6 Mpixel that can also reverse below the camera to face the subject for a selfie (not a full articulation like in the Canon 80D but more room for manouvring with respect to A6300 that does not allow selfies).
    • It is a touch screen (great, A6300 does not provide a touch screen) that is very useful to tap and focus, both in video and in stills. And that's not all:
    • Canon has borrowed from Panasonic a new handy feature of the LCD when "turned off" (i.e. when you use the viewfinder): you can move your finger on it as a trackpad to move the focus point, very cool!
  • Wireless Connectivity: Wifi + NFC + Bluetooth connectivity.
  • Weight and dimensions: 116 x 89 x 61 mm (4.57 x 3.5 x 2.4″) and 427 gr (0.94 lb / 15.06 oz) included batteries.
  • 295 shots with a battery charge - not too much with respect to competition, like Panasonic GX8 that last 310/330 shots (according to usage of viewfinder/LCD) or Sony A6300 that last 350/400 shots.
  • some mixed video features:
    • no 4K (becoming quite common nowadays) but "just" Full HD 1980x1080 with up to 60 frames per seconds that enables to have a "slow motion" effect of about 2 times since the standard frame rate is between 24 and 30 frames per seconds. The Sony A6300 supports even 120 frame per seconds with profiles dedicated for high dynamic range, but the A6300 is one of the most movie capable cameras around 1000 €/$.
    • Canon has introduced a "5 axis stabilization" but be careful that: it is just for video and not for stills, it is a software tool and not an optical tool, so it basically crops the image and via software compensates for movement (less effective than optical), ti works better when combined with a stabilized lens. Other mirrorless cameras like Olympus and Panasonic (or full frame Sony) offer in-body physical stabilization and not optical by moving the sensor very quickly to compensate. The A6300 does not have any in-body stabilization.
    • Focus peaking feature for highlighting areas in focus, very important to proper focus in manual mode.
    • An external mic port (quite mandatory for video).

What's missing: no GPS, no zebra (visual aids for overexposed areas that practically nowadays all cameras have except Canon ones), no headphone jack (a bad miss also for other mirrorless like A6300 and Olympus E-M5 II, while Panasonic GH4 has one).

An official presentation of the camera from Canon USA is available here

The problem with Canon M line is the availability of native lenses for this format: there are 6 lenses plus a new 18-150 mm model, but none are f4 of wider zoom, just one tele... Of course being a Canon system, you can just buy an adapter (around 100 €/$) and attach any EF or EF-S lens from the huge catalog of Canon but certainly you are loosing the compactness of the mirrorless world. It's anyway very positive that Canon has finally understood that they need to put latest technology in mirrorless that is a trend for the future.

Availability will be from end of November with an initial price of around 1000-1100 €/$, not very cheap, but in 6 months I expect to see it around 800 €/$.


Referenced brands in this article: Canon